Today in Tag Land: a book tag comparing my current reading tastes to those from ten years ago! Unfortunately I did not know that goodreads was a thing in 2013, which is a real pity because it might have booted me back into reading four years sooner. I vaguely knew of its existence because it was the first thing that popped up if I was looking up a book title, but I thought it was a review site and didn’t realize I could use it to track reading. Four years later, a friend showed me her goodreads profile while we were out for lunch, and the rest is now history. I will therefore be using 2017 as a baseline rather than 2013.

All of this begs a rather pertinent question: What was I doing in 2013 that was more important than reading? Well, it was my second year of grad school, and I was living in a flood-friendly basement in Ellicott City. (I say that like there’s any other kind of basement.) In May I got kicked out of a job I’d had for almost four years, and the rest of the year was spent bouncing around looking for work. Then in the summer of that year I moved out of Ellicott City and into a third-floor apartment in Frederick with one of my college roommates. I did read some, but I seem to remember that my most significant reads from that time period were Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James), which I read for the sole purposes of seeing how similar to Twilight it actually was (conclusion: there is absolutely no difference), and A Companion to Wolves (Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear), which was somehow even worse than Fifty Shades and Twilight combined.

I am struggling to remember what I was doing in 2017, but, looking at the books I was reading (thank you, goodreads), I have realized that that was the final year I was still trying to make it as a freelancer for lack of any better options. I was living at home by that point – I wouldn’t manage to move out for good for another four years – and working at Papyrus to supplement my freelance income, because I honestly do not have the hustle to freelance full-time; and I was also applying to jobs and working with the contracting agency that would eventually wedge me into my current company as a contract graphic designer. It wasn’t the greatest time in my life, and, looking back, I wish I could go back six years and tell my 2017 self that we were around the literal corner from the job we have today. I wish I could tell her it was going to be all right, that we weren’t going to be working at Papyrus and sponging off our parents forever, that we were right on the cusp of an actual career. It is crazy to me to think that I have been on goodreads for almost as long as I’ve been at this company, because I joined goodreads in August 2017 and then started my new job in January 2018. Time surely does fly.

Original tag by Rincey Reads. Text taken from Zezee with Books.

What was your favorite book in 2017?

If we’re talking about an all-time favorite, Cat’s Eye (Margaret Atwood) wins every time. If we’re talking about a new favorite book discovered in 2017, the crown goes to Life After Life (Kate Atkinson) and Hag-Seed (Margaret Atwood), which have gone on to become all-time faves. (Also, did not realize I first read Life After Life quite that early. I’m learning all kinds of things on this tag.)

I could’ve sworn I’d read Hag-Seed more than just the once, but, looking at my goodreads record, I think I might have read the book only once and then listened to the audio book multiple times. I have got to reread this book and review it, just like I need to reread and review all of my old favorites.

What is your favorite book in 2023?

Honestly, I might have to give it to Swordheart (T. Kingfisher), if only because of that demon bird. For real, though, Swordheart really spoke to my soul in so many ways. It was hilarious and sweet and it had a demon bird, and it really felt like I was reading something I might have written.

What was your least favorite book in 2017?

House of Many Ways (Diana Wynne Jones) was hands down the worst book I read in 2017. Since I liked Howl’s Moving Castle (which, incidentally, I also have to review), I thought HOMW would be fine. I was wrong. As a side note, this book is the reason I associate 2017 with Papyrus, because I was reading it while working the holiday gift-wrapping kiosk and it did not improve my temper.

What is your least favorite book in 2023?

The Snow Hare (Paula Lichtarowicz) and Defenestrate (Renée Branum) were just bad times all around. A Thousand Ships (Natalie Haynes) was the most disappointing, in that it made sweeping promises that never actually materialized.

What is a book published in 2017 that you still want to read?

Not really answering the question, but I want to take a quick minute here to note that 2017 marked the publication of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman), though I would not read it myself until 2020, and I had completely forgotten about that fact!!!

Now that that’s out of my system, Pachinko (Min Jin Lee), The Bear and the Nightingale (Katherine Arden), and Norse Mythology (Neil Gaiman) are at the top of the list. I read Pachinko last year but have forgotten almost all of it, and I need to reread it before I either review it or watch the show in its entirety. The Bear and the Nightingale has been on my shelf for years – I’m pretty sure I bought it because I am a sucker for pretty blue covers – and Norse Mythology was purchased for similar reasons.

Also, BLESS goodreads for keeping such immaculate records that I could go through their list of the most popular books published in 2017 and immediately pick out three of them.

What is a book published in 2023 that you want to get to before 2024?

Ugh, so many and I keep buying more. I would really like to read Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea (Rita Chang-Eppig) before the end of the year; likewise Land of Milk and Honey (C Pam Zhang), though in that case I at least have the excuse that it won’t be in my hands until September.

What is a genre you used to read a lot of that you don’t read as much of anymore?

Does the Baby-Sitters Club count as a genre? No?

I suppose I used to read more mangas than I currently do, with the exceptions of Spy x Family (Tatsuya Endo) and Black Butler (Yana Toboso). This is mostly because I am a book snot, and I don’t count mangas towards my personal reading goals. On the other hand, I have a full bookcase of them, and I recently got the urge to reread all my old Chobits (CLAMP) while I was inventorying my mangas.

What is a new genre you’ve discovered since 2017?

I guess technically cozy mysteries. I don’t have the best relationship with cozy mysteries in general, though it is a genre that appeals to me on paper. It could easily be that I’ve simply been reading the wrong ones, because The Thursday Murder Club (Richard Osman) was a hoot.

What is a reading or bookish habit you are hoping to leave behind this decade?

Buying new books and then not reading them. I only have so much shelf space, and I really really really need to start reading what I have.

What is a new reading goal or habit you want to create in the upcoming decade?

Read new books as soon as I buy them. T_T